Thursday, April 17, 2014

title pic A Vintage 1950s “Walkaway” Dress – The City of Roses Dress

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on August 3, 2011



Butterick 4790 Pattern Review

If you have ever sewn the 1950s Walkaway Dress, you may have mixed feelings about the results.  Most of the comments online show that the updated retro pattern does not fit the way the original pattern cover shows.  But as I share in my post “How to Make Butterick 4790 Look Like the Pattern Cover”, it really is not that hard to take this basic pattern and make it look like an authentic 1950s dress!



This crisp cotton dress is pure 1950s, but is simple enough to wear every day.

 I absolutely love this new “vintage” dress I sewed, with the lovely cotton rose print, white flower buttons, and lettuce hem edge finishing the skirt!  The big, bouffant skirt “swishes” when you walk, and the wide grosgain ribbon tied in a bow makes it looks so much like a 1950s film costume!

I call it my “City of Roses” dress since Portland is famous for its glorious flowers.  These rose bushes I’m standing in front do not display the profusion of blooms which you can see all over Portland right now, but as this photo shoot was rather spur of the moment I wasn’t able to get the photographs in the location I had in mind.  So you’ll just have to take my word for it, or see pictures of it yourself at the International Rose Garden’s website.  This dress had 108 pictures taken of it, so since I can’t share them all here I’ve posted some more over on the Facebook page. 



This 1950s vintage style dress was sewn from a drapey faille fabric.

That first vintage walkaway dress I sewed was made from a drapey faille fabric which flowed softly over the crinoline underskirt I sewed.  But this time around, I was determined to make an authentic day dress, so I used a crisp cotton fabric. 


This crisp cotton skirt has more weight than the orange dress did.

  The lady who helped me buy this gorgeous coral cotton from Maywood Fabric’s “Roses” collection said that it looked like something from “I Love Lucy“!  Because this cotton is obviously a bit heavier than the faille I used for my first dress, the skirt hangs in soft folds, rather than lightly bouncing above the crinoline as my first walkaway dress did.  But this way may be better for a day dress anyhow, since I’m sure housewives didn’t always wear enormous “poodle skirt” styles while washing the dishes!



The wide vinyl belt adds a nice vintage touch to this cotton print day dress.





The inspiration for the wide belt came from this lovely 1950s dress which was sold at .

As with my orange version of Butterick 4790, I wore the corset and crinoline for the authentic 1950s look, but I added a wide vinyl belt at the waist to give the grosgain bow sash some stability.  When I wear it with the ribbon tied around the waist, it looks much more like a late 1950s or even early 1960s dress to me, instead of the very early 1950s feel if you don’t wear a belt.

The white gloves I wore with this outfit are vintage 1940s gloves which I found at a nearby estate sale this spring.  They have lots of topstitching over the seams and a pearl button closure at each wrist.

For the record, 6015 was the original pattern number back in the 50s, as the “4790″ is just the number for the new, updated version.  If you have an original walkaway pattern (Butterick 6015), you will not need to do the alterations that I’ve mentioned.  



This ad for the "walkaway" dress (Butterick 6015) shows a much narrower skirt than the pattern cover does for either 6015 or 4790.

If you’d like to read more about the history of the Butterick walkaway dress, click here for a detailed description.  It was termed the “walkaway” dress because a woman could supposedly “start it at 9:00 in the morning and walk away in it to a luncheon at noon.”  The extra steps I take in sewing this pattern (such as turning the bias binding to the inside and waiting three days for the skirt to hang), necessitates a project that does take a bit longer than just three hours, but every minute of it is enjoyable!  (Thanks to Sarah of for allowing me to reprint this vintage walkaway dress ad from her collection!)

I have pictures of the construction steps for this dress, so if anyone is interested I just might host a “Butterick Walkaway Dress Sew Along” where we study how to sew an authentic 1950s dress.  Happy sewing!

UPDATE: We are hosting this 1950s sew-along this month, so be sure to join us in sewing!



title pic “Maria’s Gazebo Dress” – Another Sound of Music Costume Coming Soon!

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on July 28, 2011

This ethereal chiffon dress which Maria wore is one of the loveliest Sound of Music costumes of all times.

Edelweiss Patterns is designing another “Sound of Music” costume, this time inspired by Maria von Trapp’s chiffon dress!

Remember the gorgeous blue chiffon dress that Maria wore for the gazebo scene (Something Good), the puppet show, and the initial singing of “Edelweiss”?  With those fluttery sleeves, blouson bodice and smocked insets, it was appropriately referred to as “that lovely little thing you were wearing the other evening” by Baroness Elsa Schraeder herself!   For the last several years I have studied the dress in detail, and now the pattern is well underway so you will actually be able to make a similar dress yourself!


Similar to the original dress which inspired this design, the Edelweiss Patterns version has honeycomb smocking and flutter sleeves.


This bodice is so flattering to wear with the fullness up top and the firmly belted waist.

I am sharing “sneak peek” photos of the dress, but keep in mind that this is one of the initial prototypes and not the final version.  As intricate as the dress may look, it is actually quite simple to sew, and even the honeycomb smocking can be replaced with machine shirring if you are not fond of hand sewing.  I just love the sturdy belt worn over the gathered bodice which moves all the fullness to the upper bodice area, rather than looking like the Edwardian “pouter pigeon” silhouette if the dress was worn alone.  This belt is also wonderful to wear over peasant style tops, since they tend to be a bit roomy in the waist area and add too much bulk if they are made of a stiff cotton.  In back the belt dips down to a “v”, in a very similar fashion to the belts of the early 1900s.  I’ll be posting pictures of that soon.  (UPDATE: WE JUST HAD THE FINAL PHOTO SHOOT FOR MARIA’S SOUND OF MUSIC DRESS PATTERN, AND WE’VE ADDED SNEAK PEEK PHOTOS OF MARIA’S GAZEBO DRESS TO OUR FACEBOOK PAGE.)

If all goes as scheduled, this “Sound of Music” dress pattern should be released in late summer, so stay tuned for more updates!   To learn how to do honeycomb smocking for this lovely Sound of Music dress, read our new tutorial here.

So long, farewell,

sound of music costumes logoEdelweiss Patterns

title pic Princess Catherine’s Wedding Gown on Display

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on July 24, 2011

The museum curator at Buckingham Palace arranges this magnificent gown’s skirt for the exhibition.

Ever since Princess Catherine stepped out of the car and onto the red carpet at Westminster Abbey, fashionistas all over the world became enthralled with her gorgeous bridal ensemble!  Many have designed replicas of the now-famous dress, while others have speculated at how one would recreate it themselves.  (You can read my post on “How to Sew Princess Catherine’s Wedding Dress” here.) 


Any fortunate tourists at Buckingham Palace will now have an up-close view of that breathtaking handmade lace.


These lovely high heels were one of three pairs Catherine commissioned for her wedding day, and though not worn for the ceremony itself (she chose flats for the pre-party events), they still boast the Royal School of Needlework lace.

But for the first time since the Royal Wedding, fortunate tourists can now view the very gown that Princess Catherine wore on her wedding day!  In early summer Catherine had announced her intentions to graciously loan her bridal gown to the Buckingham Palace for exhibition, along with the lace appliqued high heels, Cartier halo tiara, earrings, and wedding cake that were admired by over two billion people who watched the wedding festivities by television.  In an unprecedented act for costume display, Princess Catherine’s wedding dress is not even housed in a glass display case, but is modeled by a manequin right in the middle of the banquet hall. 


Only a few short months before, William and Catherine celebrated their wedding reception in the room which now houses the famous wedding gown.

This lovely dress will be on display until October 3, 2011, and is housed in the grand banquet room in Buckingham Palace where the Royal Couple celebrated their wedding reception.


Princess Catherine and Queen Elizabeth share a quiet moment before the wedding dress exhibit opens to the public at Buckingham Palace.

I found a delightful behind-the-scenes video on the official Royal Wedding Site that shows Queen Elizabeth, Princess Catherine herself, and the museum curator viewing the newly-opened display at Buckingham Palace.  Princess Catherine wore a simple sheath style dress which is what we’ve become accustomed to seeing her wear since her marriage, while the Queen is dressed in a lovely silk charmeuse floral printed dress. 


Princess Catherine wore a navy lace dress with cream lining for one day of the Royal Canadian Tour.


For the couple's last day in Canada, Catherine wore a lovely red suit - a color we don't often see on her.

I do wish that the Princess would wear things that were not quite so plain and business-like, and opt for more colors in her wardrobe like the red suit she wore on her last day in Canada.  Except for the occasional royal blue, we usually only see muted hues of ivory, tan, and navy in her color selection.  But her fascinator headpieces are quite charming, and I love how she always curls her hair! 

From a personal view point, I wonder if Princess Catherine might feel just a twinge of sadness seeing that gorgeous gown on a far-away manequin when it must be such a sentimental dress to her.  I remember after my ballet performances I was always a little sad to have to turn over my costume to the wardrobe department, knowing that I’d only ever see it again in photographs.  Of course she will retain complete access to it after the exhibition closes this fall, but after such a breathtaking fairytale wedding, it would be a shame if she never got to wear it again!  Princess Catherine in particular seemed to fit the role of Royal Princess so well that I almost thought she was missing something when I saw photos of her after the nuptial festivities wearing simple, everyday clothing. 

We’ll have to hope that perhaps she will wear the gown for a tenth wedding anniversary the way that Queen Elizabeth re-wore her coronation gown for the Canadian tour!  For now, though, that striking gown is on display for the public to get a glimpse of while the wedding is still fresh in their minds.